Notes from Melanie - Movie Review
Joe Link (Mason Heidger) is a successful screenwriter for the kind of movies you’d expect to see the name Roger Corman or Asylum Pictures attached to. He’s made a good career for himself scripting third-rate knock-offs, and while working on his most recent script he’s begun to suffer from a slight case of writer’s block and can’t seem to get it finished. When he seeks the aegis of his ex, the titular Melanie (KateLynn E Newberry), who herself has a great career writing indie films, she does her best to help him finish this script. It proves to be a daunting task, and it’s eventually obvious that this is not Joe’s only problem, as he wrestles with overindulging in influence at the cost of authenticity at the core of his character. This is Joe’s cumulative struggle, and he needs a hand dealing with it all.
Notes From Melanie was written, directed and produced by Chris Stuckmann, and it is a great watch if you’re in the mood for an enjoyable little dramatic comedy film. I thought Mason and KateLynn were great in their respective roles, and they played off of one another to spectacular effect. The dialogue was steered by Melanie's no-nonsense criticism of Joe’s overzealous naivety and the end result of that golden combo is some great humor. The chemistry was where it needed to be for two people that have a past and in spite of her noticeable frustration with Joe, it’s apparent that Melanie is invested in Joe and his work as much as she possibly can be.
I personally have several friends that I know I can go to when I need to bounce ideas around, or just need some criticism. This process was well represented in regards to what it’s like for a couple of people to hash it out and how useful a second opinion can be for writing. One thing I picked up on immediately, as both an artist and someone who shares Chris' passion for filmmaking and reviewing movies, was that it is that clear to me that he put a part of himself in the character of Joe Link. That is never a bad route to go as a writer because it lends a lot of sincerity to your character, and was a well-utilized choice in regards to this story as far as I am concerned.
Joe may be successful, but he realizes that he is not creatively fulfilled and strives to craft his first blockbuster instead of stocking the $5 Blu ray bin at WalMart with his typical schlock. It should also be noted that John Flickinger’s Johnny Flexster, the hero Badass of all of Joe’s movies, is hilariously over the top in mock-Arnold fashion. There are brief trailer-style clips of them inserted in the appropriate spots throughout the film, and they’re spot-on b-movie style riff fodder. John also designed all of the posters in Joe’s office, which are all great and should most definitely be sold as legit prints online, as they are quite amusing and well designed.
Notes From Melanie I think is a great effort overall, I really enjoyed it; Chris’s script and direction are excellent, the cast does a spectacular job and have great screen presence. Aaron J Morton’s score composition is wonderful and sets the tone expertly and honestly, it’s a story that I think a lot of creative people would identify with and hopefully take something away from. I’ve been looking forward to seeing some of Chris’s work, and while I am still waiting patiently to see Auditorium 6 (wheels are turning I hear, hopefully sometime next year), I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was uploading this to his channel this past weekend.
After watching Notes From Melanie I will admit that I am eagerly anticipating any / all future projects Chris may work on in his career as a filmmaker and he certainly appears to be off to a really good start. I recommend checking this out if you have nineteen and a half minutes to spare and want to have a good chuckle at the plight of writers everywhere, professional or otherwise.
With audio commentary